Tree-of-Heaven or Ailanthus


Soil: Average moisture
Flower: Yellow-green
Fall : Brown
Growth Rate: More than 24” of growth per year


An excellent tree for urban areas, the fast growing tree-of-heaven tolerates a high degree or air pollution, thrives in any kind of soil, and resists attacks by most pests and diseases. The huge compound leaves of this wide-spreading tree are ash-likie and grow up to 3 feet long and divided into numerous leaflets. These leaflets are bronzy red when they unfurl in the spring, but quickly turn to a rich dark green. The leaves are born in heavy branches at the end of short twigs and create a changing pattern of filtered sun and shade.

The tree-of-heaven bears insignificant yellow green flowers in summer, which are followed by large, drooping clusters of attractive reddish-brown winged seeds known as samaras. These are scattered over a wide area but will develop into seedlings only if they have been pollinated by a male tree.

Plant in midfall or early spring to midspring in any kind of garden soil, in sun or light shade. To protect limbs from breakage, avoid sites that are exposed too strong winds. Stake young trees until established.

Cut Back hard in spring to control growth, young trees can be pollarded annually and grown as multi-stemmed shrubs. Dig up and remove the suckers when they sprout from the roots, destroy the suckers or use them for propagation purposes. The tree of heaven is generally trouble free.
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2 thoughts on “Tree-of-Heaven or Ailanthus

  1. Hello, I’m very very surprised you should recommend a highly invasive tree, that now American parks are spending so much money on to eradicate. Why not recommend native trees which are not a threat to native plants ? Even the staghorn sumac, also called rhus typhina would be better, it actually looks like the tree of heaven, with dented leaves, and is not a threat to the environement.

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